President Jacob Zuma says he has decided to reshuffle his Cabinet in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The Presidency released a statement in the early hours of Friday morning announcing the adjustments affecting 20 people.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom have all been axed.
Replacing Gordhan is former Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, while his deputy will be former Prasa Board Chair, Sfiso Buthelezi.
Zuma says the changes bring some younger Members of Parliament and women into the national executive to benefit from their energy and experience.
On Thursday, the president called a meeting with the African National Congress (ANC)’s top six in the capital amidst speculations that he could be changing his Cabinet.
This is a big reshuffle and it appears Zuma has taken action against some of the people who've been critical of him.
But Bathabile Dlamini stays on at Social Development, despite the criticism over the social grants payments system.
Already groups like Save South Africa are calling on people to rise up, saying this is a brazen attempt to undermine the gains of the liberation struggle by taking power from the people and giving it to the Guptas.
Former Congress of South Africa Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi called for a protest at the offices of the National Treasury on Friday morning.
“Every South African, bring your flag and demonstrate peacefully. Let it be known that you stood up.”
There will now be pressure on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to act amid claims that he could actually have been planning to resign if Gordhan was moved.
For the moment there's been no official reaction to this move by the ANC itself.
Econometrix chief economist Azar Jammine says the markets are watching this every closely.
“I think this is very negative for the markets and the probability is high that our credit rating will be downgraded to junk status.”